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Armenian PM, Family Infected With Coronavirus(UPDATED)


Armenia -- Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian (C) speaks at a news briefing hours after announcing that he and his family members tested positive for coronavirus, Yerevan, June 1, 2020.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said on Monday that he and all members of his family have tested positive for coronavirus.

“We are having no symptoms,” Pashinian said, adding that he will self-isolate in his government residence and continue to perform his duties from there.

Pashinian lives there with his wife and three young daughters.

“It’s obvious that my family members were infected by me and I can guess where and how I got infected,” he said in a live Facebook broadcast. He suggested that he contracted the virus from a government employee who served him water during a recent government meeting in Yerevan.

“I will be working from home, namely the prime minister’s residence,” Pashinian went on. “I have all necessary conditions here.”

Just hours after this announcement, Pashinian held a joint news briefing with Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinian and Health Minister Arsen Torosian outside his residence. Avinian and Torosian wore face masks and stood about two meters away from him.

“My entire family is now isolated in the prime minister’s residence,” said the premier. “We have no symptoms right now.”

Pashinian’s spokeswoman, Mane Gevorgian, said that there are no plans yet to have members of the Armenian government or the prime minister’s staff to undergo coronavirus tests. But Gevorgian did not exclude that such tests will be carried out if they are recommended by doctors.

“The government officials who have been in contact with the prime minister have followed the set rules: they wear masks, practice social distancing, disinfect hands and so on,” she wrote on Facebook.

Pashinian said in this regard that he believes he might have only infected “as few people in the government as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Armenian Ministry of Health reported that the number of coronavirus cases in the country of about 3 million rose by 210 to 9,492 in the past 24 hours.

The ministry also said that 8 more people died from COVID, bringing the official death toll to 139.

The figure does not include the deaths of 55 other people who were also infected with the virus. The ministry says that they were primarily caused by other, pre-existing conditions. Five of these fatalities were registered on Sunday.

The number of coronavirus cases and resulting deaths in Armenia has grown steadily since the government began easing in mid-April a nationwide lockdown imposed by it in late March. All sectors of the Armenian economy were allowed to resume their work by May 10.

Pashinian and other government have so far signaled no plans to re-impose lockdown restrictions. They maintain that Armenians can stop the spread of the virus if they wear face masks, practice social distancing and frequently wash their hands.

“Our strategy and tactics remain the same: we have to learn to live with coronavirus,” Pashinian said Monday.

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